From living in a hut to defeating World No. 2 in Olympics: Archer Pravin Jadhav shines for India on the biggest stage

Indian archer Pravin Jadhav [Image Credits: Esakal]
Indian archer Pravin Jadhav [Image Credits: Esakal]

Pravin Jadhav displayed exemplary skills to knock out World No. 2 Galsan Bazarzhapov in the 1/32 elimination round at the Olympics today. Jadhav was India's best archer in the ranking round, finishing 31st to set up a clash against Bazarzhapov. Undaunted by his opponent's stature and ranking, Jadhav won 6-0 to advance to the next stage.

Jadhav faced another tough opponent in the 1/16 eliminations - USA's Brady Ellison. He lost 6-0, squandering some chances to make a comeback midway. Despite the loss, Jadhav has emerged as one of the most promising Indian archers from the event.

However, Jadhav has not had it easy in life. He has fought adversity at every stage to make his way to the top. Here is Pravin Jadhav's journey from a village in Satara to becoming one of the best archers in India.

Pravin Jadhav hails from rural Maharashtra

Pravin Jadhav did not have a bountiful childhood. The archer grew up in Sarade village of Maharashtra in a poor family of daily wage laborers. However, his humble roots were no bar for Pravin to excel in sports. His sports teacher Vikas Bhujbal was quick to spot his talent and took him around for local competitions.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Pravin said:

“Athletics was the only avenue I was offered to be part of, so I started running and taking part in competitions when I was around eight. Bhujbal sir noticed that I was good at sports and made me participate in every competition at taluka and district level for those first four years.”

Reminiscing about the sports teacher's generosity, Jadhav added:

" I went to several places on Bhujbal sir's motorcycle. He bore all the expenses from his earnings and I used to stay at his home during competitions."

Pravin Jadhav's life at Krida Prabodhini

At the age of 12, Jadhav earned selection for Krida Prabodhini in Ahmednagar. The sports school's rigorous discipline molded him into a competitor with a strong work ethic. Jadhav was terrific in athletics but ended up getting selected for archery.

“I was very good at running and long jump. After one year of training at Krida Prabodhini, they selected boys to coach them for specific games. During one drill, I threw 10 out of 10 balls in a ring from 10 metre distance and that may have been the reason I got selected for achery.”

Pravin Jadhav's sensational career as an archer

Jadhav represented India at the 2016 Asia Cup Stage 1 event in Bangkok. He was an integral part of the team that won bronze. His biggest triumph came at the 2019 Archery World Championships when his team made it to the finals for the first time since 2005. The win propelled the team of Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

Jadhav's 31st place finish in the qualifying round earned him a spot in the mixed team event along with Deepika Kumari. Though he failed to finish on the podium, the future looks really bright for the 25-year-old.

Also Read: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule

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Edited by SANJAY K K
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